Late yesterday, in federal court in Central Islip, an 18-count indictment was returned charging Dr. Roya Jafari-Hassad with illegal distribution of oxycodone and witness tampering. Hassad was arrested this morning and is scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Steven L. Tiscione.
Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Frank A. Tarentino, Special Agent-in-Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), New York Division and Elysia M. Doherty, Assistant Special Agent-in-Charge, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General’s Office of Investigations, New York Region (HHS-OIG) announced the charges.
“As alleged, the defendant abandoned her medical oath to operate a pill mill in Nassau County, illegally dispensing oxycodone to patients for a cash fee,” stated United States Attorney Breon Peace. “This Office will continue to protect our community from bad actors who flood our streets with dangerous drugs, even if they hide behind their prescription pad.”
“A prescription pad in the wrong hands can be a deadly weapon,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Frank Tarentino. “The diversion of prescription medication is inexcusable for medical professionals and I applaud the hard work by DEA and our law enforcement partners who brought these charges against Dr. Jafari-Hassad.”
“Health care professionals have a duty to prescribe medication responsibly to ensure the well-being of their patients. Failing to do so puts the health and safety of patients at risk and undermines critical measures to address the opioid epidemic,” said Susan A. Frisco, Acting Special Agent in Charge with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General. "HHS-OIG will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to hold accountable bad actors who exploit opioid addiction for personal financial gain.”
Specifically, the investigation has disclosed that Hassad operated a medical office in Great Neck, New York, in which she charged her patients hundreds of dollars in cash in exchange for an illegal monthly oxycodone prescription. These oxycodone prescriptions had no legitimate medical purpose. The cash charge was often in addition to Hassad billing the patient’s insurance for a variety of charges, many relating to procedures that never occurred. It is estimated that Hassad made hundreds of thousands of dollars a year cash solely from the cash payments made by patients to obtain their oxycodone prescriptions.
For example, Hassad prescribed oxycodone to an undercover agent at every visit including the first visit. These visits took place over a year long period and none of the oxycodone prescriptions had a legitimate medical purpose. In addition, after a search warrant was executed at her medical offices, Hassad reached out to patients and attempted to convince them to alter their testimony about their oxycodone prescriptions.
Oxycodone is a scheduled controlled substance that may be dispensed by medical professionals only for a legitimate medical purpose in the usual course of a doctor’s professional practice. It is a powerful and highly addictive drug and is frequently abused because of its potency when crushed into a powder and ingested, leading to a heroin-like euphoria.
The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Charles P. Kelly and Madeline O’Connor.
Bayside, New York
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 22-545